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Home > Cats > Cat Breeds > Kurilian Bobtail Cat: Pictures, Temperament & Traits

Kurilian Bobtail Cat: Pictures, Temperament & Traits

Kurilian Bobtail Cat

Looking for a friendly and outgoing cat breed with a wild appearance? Your new best friend might be the playful and fun-loving Kurilian Bobtail. They’re one of just a few natural breeds recognized by the International Cat Association, which makes them quite unique. Despite looking like they belong out in the wild, they have a gentle and affectionate personality that is completely at odds with their untamed looks. You’ll be charmed by these adorable cats as soon as you catch sight of that cute little bobtail.

Breed Overview


9–12 inches


11–15 pounds


15–20 years


A variety of traditional colors, such as tortoiseshell, tricolor, and tabby

Suitable for:

Active families seeking an energetic and friendly cat


Outgoing, sociable, adaptable, intelligent, easily trained, and likes having fun

The International Cat Association only accepted this breed in 2012, so it is quite uncommon in the United States. Therefore, you may not have even heard of these fascinating cats. Don’t worry, we have all the details! We’ll give you the complete lowdown on this furry, playful feline.

Kurilian Bobtail Characteristics

High-energy cat will need a lot of mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy, while low-energy cats require minimal physical activity. It’s important when choosing a cat to make sure their energy levels match your lifestyle or vice versa.
Easy-to-train cats are more willing and skilled at learning prompts and actions quickly with minimal training. Cats that are harder to train are usually more stubborn and will require a bit more patience and practice.
Some cat breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, and some more than others. This doesn’t mean that every cat will have these issues, but they have an increased risk, so it’s important to understand and prepare for any additional needs they may require.
Some breeds, due to their size or their breeds' potential genetic health issues, have shorter lifespans than others. Proper exercise, nutrition, and hygiene also play an important role in the lifespan of your pet.
Some cat breeds are more social than others, both towards humans and other animals. More social cats have a tendency to rub up on strangers for scratches, while less social cats shy away and are more cautious, even potentially aggressive. No matter the breed, it’s important to socialize your cat and expose them to lots of different situations.


Kurilian Bobtail Kittens

kurilian bobtail kitten
Image Credit: milaphotos, Shutterstock

If you see a litter of Kurilian kittens with pom-pom tails, then you’re bound to fall in love. They’re adorable, but there’s more to know before you make a commitment and give your heart to that sweet little kitten. Despite being friendly and people-oriented, these cats haven’t forgotten their wild side. The species is prized in Russia for its ability to catch mice. If given the chance, they love to hunt.

A high-energy breed, they require plenty of exercise and enrichment in order to stay healthy and happy. They have a robust genetic heritage since they are a natural breed. Because of this, they are a healthy breed, with only a few health problems.

Temperament & Intelligence of the Kurilian Bobtail

In spite of their ability to relax and cuddle, Kurilian Bobtails are always on the lookout for adventure. As curious and outgoing companions, they enjoy exploring, playing, and generally participating in almost everything you do. They have a playful, non-aggressive nature, despite their fierce love for hunting.

They are extremely intelligent cats. Games that challenge their cognitive abilities—for example, puzzles—are their favorite, and they enjoy being trained. They will remember the rules after hearing them only once. If they are not allowed to jump up on the dining table, Kurilians will quickly figure that out. But they will obey you only if they choose to do so as they are truly independent-minded animals.

Kurilian Bobtail kitten
Image By: Vagengeim, Shutterstock

Are These Cats Good for Families? 👪

The Kurilian Bobtail makes an excellent family cat. They are certain to be loved by all members of the family, no matter their age, because of their charismatic personalities coupled with their capacity to unwind and enjoy quiet time together. They are extremely quick to learn new tricks and can even be trained by younger members of the family. Even though this breed will form strong bonds with individual family members, it’s not overly anxious when left alone for reasonable amounts of time during the day. Be sure to leave plenty of toys to keep them occupied, and you’ll be greeted with excitement when you arrive home.

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets?

Kurilian Bobtails are great companions for dogs as well as cats, but they may not play well with smaller pets. Kurilians are known for their love of hunting, and this is also true of other small pets including mice, rats, hamsters, gerbils, rabbits, chinchillas, and ferrets. We would not recommend keeping your Kurilian in a house with any of these animals, as it might develop a predatory fascination with them.

A Kurilian can be tempted by fish in an aquarium, and they’re not afraid to leap into the water to find their prey. Similarly, they can stalk and harass caged birds. In this regard, Kurilians can’t help themselves. Hunting small prey is a reflex for them.

That said, a Kurilian can really benefit from having another cat in the house to keep them occupied, so having a second cat is a good idea. The other cat should be able to keep up with a playful Kurilian if its energy level is similar.


Things to Know When Owning a Kurilian Bobtail:

Owning a Kurilian Bobtail can be a rewarding experience, but there are some things to know before you decide to bring one into your home. If you are considering adopting a new cat—particularly a natural breed—into your family, we know that it is not a simple decision. Kurilian Bobtail kittens are adorable, however, you need to make sure you’re aware of the pros and cons before making your purchase.

Food & Diet Requirements 🐡

Diet-wise, Kurilian Bobtails require much less maintenance than many other breeds. High-protein diets designed for active cats would be beneficial to them. These cats must consume a high-protein diet in order to maintain their muscle mass and stay healthy. They should be given a diet that is rich in animal protein, such as chicken, beef, or fish. Cats that are not given a high-protein diet may become overweight or develop health problems.

As long as Kurians are busy doing something active to keep those calories burning, they aren’t susceptible to becoming obese. However, you must observe their energy level and adjust the amount of food you give them accordingly.

Exercise 🐈

Kurilian Bobtails love to play, so you’ll need to ensure you give them ample time to do so. You should provide them with toys that will stimulate their minds as well as their bodies. You can keep your Kurilian on their toes with food puzzles, electronic toys, and ball or pointer games that require a lot of running. When a Kurilian Bobtail lives indoors, they’ll need more intentional exercise than they would if they were allowed time outside.

Add scratching posts, cat trees, cat condos, and cat hammocks as enrichment to your indoor space. If you have an outdoor cat enclosure, they can watch the world pass by from a safe area while they are enjoying the outdoors.

a grey kurilian bobtail on a cat tree
Image By: aksarah, Pixabay

Training 🧶

Kurilian Bobtails are considered to be easy to train, and they are often very intelligent animals that can learn a variety of skills and tricks. They can be taught to fetch, play dead, walk on a leash, and perform other basic obedience commands. Additionally, they may be able to learn more advanced tricks such as rolling over or playing fetch with a ball. This highly intelligent breed is always ready for a training session as it excels at learning new tricks. A Kurilian is a great training partner for young children, as they are gentle, willing, and patient. You will be pleasantly surprised at how much knowledge your Kurilian can absorb!

Litter Training

Kurilian Bobtails are also known for being one of the easiest breeds of cats to train for litter box usage. This is likely due to their high intelligence, inquisitive nature, and the fact that they are bred to be hunting cats, and as such, are naturally very clean animals. When litter training a Kurilian Bobtail, it is important to start early, as they typically learn quickly. You will want to place the litter box in a quiet, yet accessible, area of your home. Placing the litter box in the right place and keeping it clean are two key factors in successfully litter training a Kurilian Bobtail.

Grooming ✂️

Like most cats, Kurilian Bobtails groom themselves fastidiously by licking their fur and using their claws to groom their skin. Depending on their coat length, the Kurilian Bobtail can be either short or semi-longhaired, but both require little maintenance. Since they don’t tend to get tangled or knotted, they only need a weekly brush to stay looking shiny and sleek. This can be a nice bonding opportunity for you and your cat. A Kurilian can be easily trained to accept their nails being trimmed regularly and to have the ears and teeth examined.

Health and Conditions 🏥

All cat breeds have the risk of suffering from health issues, but the Kurilian certainly does not suffer from as many as other purebred cat varieties. The Kurilian is a hardy wild breed, so they’re usually exceptionally healthy. In part, this is due to their naturally developed genetics. However, we don’t yet know much about this breed, so it is possible that we are unaware of some issues that will be made clear in years to come.

Serious Conditions:

The absence of or shortening of cat tails has always been attributed to an inherited spine deformity, similar to that of Manx cats. Stumpy tails occur in various breeds due to genetic mutations. For example, if two completely tailless Manx cats mate, the defects may be so serious that their kittens may be stillborn or die soon after birth. However, because Kurilians are as yet so rare, there is no genetic research available on this issue.

It’s important to remember that once you’ve adopted a kitten into your home, you have the power to protect them from gaining weight. Obesity is one of the more common and serious feline health problems. One of the easiest ways to protect the health of your Kurilian Bobtail is to keep them at an appropriate weight.

Minor Conditions:

Like all breeds of cats, they may occasionally suffer from minor health problems such as parasites or infections. As with all cat breeds, vaccinations are important for keeping kitties healthy. They help protect cats from diseases such as rabies, feline leukemia, and feline distemper.


Male vs Female

Congratulations on choosing the Kurilian Bobtail as a welcome addition to your household! Now all you have to do is to decide which gender to get. There is a slight difference in body weight between the sexes, with males being heavier, but except for that physical difference, there is little distinction between the sexes. Consider meeting a few kittens and letting their temperaments help you decide which kitten is the right fit for your home.


3 Little-Known Facts About the Kurilian Bobtail

1. Kurilian Bobtails have naturally short tails

Pom-pom bobtails are the key distinguishing feature of this breed and Kurilian Bobtails are a naturally short-tailed breed of cat. Their tails can be so short, they are sometimes mistaken for being tailless. The breed’s characteristic bobbed tail is the result of a natural mutation and is not the result of surgical alteration.

However, Kurilian tails come in three distinct types, described in the breed standard as the snag, spiral, and whisk. These tail types should all have at least two vertebrae and measure anywhere from ½ an inch to 3 inches in length.

2. They are native to an isolated archipelago of islands

The Kurilian bobtail is a natural breed that is thought to have originated on the Kuril Islands, which are located in the Sea of Okhotsk between the Kamchatka Peninsula and the island of Hokkaido. The Kuril archipelago is a chain of snowy, wooded islands located off the coast of Russia which stretches almost 700 miles toward Japan. These islands have been home to wild cats for at least 200 years. Researchers and military personnel captured some of these elusive cats in the mid-20th century. Since then, Kurilians have slowly made their way across the world.

3. Kurilian Bobtails enjoy climbing high and splashing about

Sitting up high is so much fun for these cats. Due to their muscular build and lengthy hindquarters, Kuril Bobtails are very good jumpers. A testament to their origins as forest-dwelling cats, they often observe their territory from a high vantage point. Kurilian Bobtails are adept hunters and are particularly fond of heights, as well as swimming. The Kurilian bobtail is a breed of domestic cat that has a shortened tail.

This breed is also known for its lack of fear of water, and many individuals have been known to swim long distances. They inherited these talents from their island-living ancestors. Most Kurilians will not hesitate to jump into a body of water because their fur is water-resistant. Pond-living goldfish around your neighborhood better watch out!

kurilian bobtail cat
Image By: lindarczyk, Pixabay


Final Thoughts

Natural breeds like the Kurilian Bobtail still hold on to many characteristics from their wild ancestors, making them distinctive and fascinating. Despite their intimidating appearance and hunting skills, these cats are incredibly loving and entertaining. As they love to be active, you’ll want to make sure they have enough stimulation and exercise to keep them busy.

These cats love learning new tricks and are energetic enough for the whole family. They are also generally healthy and low maintenance in terms of feeding and grooming. Kurilian Bobtails want to be with their loved ones, so if you have the energy and creativity necessary to keep them entertained, you may be a perfect match.

Featured Image Credit: Oleksandr Volchanskyi, Shutterstock

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